The Richmond Register

March 17, 2013

Cutting for a cause

Followers of St. Baldrick raise money and lose hair for childhood cancer patients

By Kaitlin Keane
Register Chief Photographer

RICHMOND — “Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean…” Dawn Gras cheered while laughing to her daughter, Phoebe Bryant, who was in the process of getting her head shaved.

This mother-daughter duo, “Team Slick Chicks” both shaved their heads during the Fantastic Sam’s of  Richmond’s sixth annual St. Baldrick’s event Saturday at the Paddy Wagon to raise money for childhood cancer research.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

According to the St. Baldrick’s website, “Shavees” ask friends and family to make donations “on their head” and in return, each attends a volunteer-organized event to have their heads shaved in solidarity with kids fighting cancer.

All money raised in Kentucky stays in the state, the website states. Institutions that received the funds include the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and the affiliated University of Kentucky Research Foundation and Kosair Children’s Hospital and the affiliated University of Louisville Research Foundation.

The Richmond event raised more than $3,000, according to the organizers.

“You sure do look like your father now,” Gras joked again.

Bryant first heard about the cause when she saw another girl on campus show up one day with no hair and the event shirt. She thought it was the coolest thing and decided she wanted to do it too.

After she told her mom about it, the Irvine 911 dispatcher also thought it was a great idea and wanted to do it too.

“I’m not really a girly girl,” Bryant joked, “I don’t do much with it when I have longer hair anyway.”

Gras and Bryant’s goal was $200, and they far surpassed it.

Bryant said she is known to be more daring in her hair choices. After having had half her head shaved once previously, being fully bald didn’t even affect her, she said.

“I’m excited about doing it and it actually being for a reason,” Bryant said.

Family and friends watched as Bryant and Gras got shaved “for a good cause.”

“It is so liberating,” Gras said as the hair fell off her head. Gras also donated her pony tail to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which uses hair to make free wigs for women fighting cancer.

Women weren’t the only ones losing their locks for the cause Saturday. Mike Smith of Richmond last year raised $500 for the event. This year, his goal was to double that. Almost $1,200 later, Smith sat in a chair while friends took photos of his hair falling to the ground outside the Paddy Wagon.

“I raised a lot of money … I expect a good hair cut,” Smith said to Fantastic Sam’s stylist LaVasha Blythe-Terry as she shaved his head.

Nate Daniels of Richmond shaved his head, too.

“It’s going anyway,” Daniels said while rubbing his forehead, “so, if I’m losing it, it might as well be for a good cause.”

Although he has no personal relation with childhood cancer, Daniels said as the father of a 3-year old daughter, he feels connected.

“I want to help these kids because of her,” he said.

After seeing her father’s new do for the first time, Clara Daniels, 3, said she liked it.

“It kinda looks funny,” she said while giggling.